The first Turkish Maritime Patrol Aircraft (TMPA) under the Meltem III program for Turkish Navy had completed maiden flight from TAI's Akinci facility in Ankara, in July 2016.
Based on a ATR-72-600 turboprop airliner platform, Turkish Aerospace Industries carried out the modification to transform the aircraft into a Anti-Submarine Warfare(ASW) aircraft.
Following the first flight, the first prototype left to Italy's Torino, from where the flight testing will be carried out, reveals TAI's latest edition of in house magazine.
Alenia Aermacchi (now Leonardo) and Turkish Under-secretariat for Defense Industries (SSM) had signed an agreement in July 2012, to deliver two ATR 72-600 TMUA (Turkish Maritime Utility Aircraft) and six ATR 72-600 TMPA to the Turkish Navy.
Leonardo carried out the design and development of the TMPA platform, with Thales acting as the lead avionics integrator.
Under the agreement the basic ATR-72 airframe made by the French-Italian ATR joint venture (Leonardo/Airbus Group) will be modified from TAI's facilities. After which flight testing and integration of on-board surveillance and weapon systems will be carried out by Leonardo in Italy
The first aircraft for modification was delivered to TAI in April 2013 and is scheduled to be delivered to Turkish Navy in February 2017. The remaining five aircraft will be delivered in 2018.
The six TMPA will be integrated with Thales AMASCOS (Airborne Maritime Situation & Control System) mission system which can detect, identify and track threats, maintain real-time tactical situation awareness, manage NATO and national tactical data links and deploy onboard weapon systems.
|The AMASCOS consoles for five operators.|
AMASCOS systems integrates the electro-optical sensors, Thales Ocean Master 400 search radar, Electronic Support Measures ( ESM) sensor, rear boom mounted Magnetic Anomaly Detector (MAD) to detect submarines and Sono-buoy launcher.
The Integrated self-protection system which include Chaff & Flare Dispenser, Radar Warning, Missile Warning and Laser Warning can warn and protect the aircraft from missiles in hostile conditions.
Armament include two Mk 54 Light Weight Anti-submarine torpedoes carried on 2 pylons at the fuselage sides.
The ATR 72ASW is also equipped with new-generation Link 16 data-link system, that connects in real-time with the ground command and control centers and other platforms, both on air and on sea, for coordination and maximum operations’ effectiveness.
|The ATR-72 undergoing modification at TAI facility|
In addition, the aircraft features a fuselage door that can be opened in flight and two observer stations equipped with large bubble windows.
TAI's work share includes Kit-A and tools manufacturing, procurement of material and support equipment, structural and electrical modification, assembly, test, Ground Flight Support and Integrated Logistics Support (ILS) activities.
The ATR 72 aircraft is powered by two PW 127M turboprop engines rated at 2,750shp each driving a six bladed Hamilton Standard 568F propeller.
The basic ATR 72-600 aircraft has maximum take-off weight of 22,800 kg, with a maximum payload capacity of 7,300 kg.